King's College London, one of the world's top 30 educational institutes, will establish a Chair for the study of contemporary India through an endowment of 3.5 million pounds from Indian business conglomerate Avantha group.
The new Avantha Chair, that would accompany the Directorship of the India Institute, will be responsible for advancing the India Institute's goal to become the leading international centre for the study of contemporary India.
The first holder of this prestigious new position at the King's College will be India Institute Director Professor Sunil Khilnani.
The $ 4 billion Avantha Group is one of India's leading conglomerates that operates in 10 countries and supports ventures in education, community development and healthcare.
It has business interests ranging from power transmission & distribution equipment and services, paper and pulp, energy and infrastructure, food processing, chemicals and information technology.
"Avantha invests in leaders and institutions, and strongly believes in contemporary relevance as it continues to support pioneering and leading initiatives such as the Avantha Chair at King's India Institute," said Gautam Thapar, Chairman and CEO of Avantha, in a statement.
"The Institute's vision dovetails with our belief that a holistic and nuanced understanding of contemporary India is essential to explore and fruitfully engage with India. It is also vital for India to develop new tools, strategies and outlook in its dealings with the international community," he added.
Professor Khilnani said the gift from the Avantha Group was an endorsement of India Institute's commitment to bring objective research and urgent policy into productive dialogue.
Khilnani, in the position of the Avantha Chair, will be responsible for driving this agenda forward, and forging further links with government and industry.
The India Institute at King's, which will have its formal launch early next year, is located in the heart of London - a city with unrivalled opportunities for the study of modern India, and one of the largest centres of Indian cultural and intellectual life outside Asia.
Students at King's are able to take advantage of close relationships with universities, government and business in India, such as an exchange scheme with Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, one of the College's international strategic partners.